DNA provides sketch of Idaho Falls cold-case killer

IDAHO FALLS -- Two decades after 18-year-old Angie Dodge was raped and stabbed to death in her Idaho Falls apartment, police are leveraging DNA technology to get their first tentative look at the killer's face.

The DNA profile sketch, released Wednesday, was made possible by Parabon Nanolabs, a Virginia‐based DNA technology company. Although no match has been found for the DNA on Dodge's body after the 1996 slaying, the company was able to use the killer's genetic material to determine his likely hair, eye and skin color.

One of the profiles shows the suspect at about age 25, while the other shows how he would look age-progressed to his forties - believed to be the killer's current age.

According to the sketch, the man who killed Dodge has brown eyes, brown or blond hair, and a normal body mass index.The suspect is white with skin that is fair or very fair, and of northern European ancestry, the profile suggests.

MORE: Tapp released from prison after 20 years

The information released in the DNA snapshot may not be 100 percent accurate, Parabon Nanolabs says. But the Idaho Falls Police Departmetnt believes it may get detectives a step closer to finding the killer who has eluded justice in Dodge's death.

In a statement, Idaho Falls Police Chief Mark McBride said detectives are committed to getting an answer, no matter how long it takes.

“The Idaho Falls Police Department has spent more time and money investigating this crime than any other crime in the history of this department,” he said. “But the resources directed to this case are quintessential to solving it, and we are determined to bring a resolution to this heinous crime. We owe it to the Dodge family and our citizens and therefore, this case will remain as high of a priority as it has been since 1996.”

Police say two DNA profiles were collected at the crime scene, indicating that more than one person was involved in the attack. Under current technology, only one of the two samples was viable to be tested.

That testing was integral in getting former Idaho Falls resident Chris Tapp released from prison after 20 years behind bars. Tapp, who prosecutors had said held Dodge down while another man sexually assaulted and killed her, has long maintained he was coerced into signing a false confession.

RELATED: Looking at DNA technology used in Tapp case, release

Tapp's convictions were not overturned, but a judge resentenced him to time served and ordered him released from prison in March amid doubts about whether he was connected to the crime. Even the murdered teen's mother, Carol Dodge, had joined activists and the Idaho Innocence Project in calling for Tapp's release.

In an interview with KTVB after his release last month, Tapp said he still did not want anyone to forget about the cold case.

“Everybody is excited and happy that I'm released and free, but also on the other side of the coin they’re forgetting the most important thing: There's still an unsolved murder," he said.

Idaho Falls Police and Channel Blend of Idaho Falls have set up a 24-hour tipline for anyone who recognizes the man in the DNA profile sketch or knows anything about the murder.

The tipline number is 1‐800‐927‐1239. Callers can leave tips anonymously, or an provide a name and contact information for a callback from detectives. Every tip will be followed up on by detectives, police say.

Police say the department has already spent  more than $43,000 in evidence extraction, analysis, DNA profiling, and travel to follow up on leads over the past four years, as well as staffing and overtime assigned to the case.

"This is a testament of our commitment and desire to utilize available and cutting‐edge technologies to finding our killer," McBride said. "We are hopeful and excited this new phenotype sketch will help us garner new leads into the Dodge homicide."

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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